On Sunday, April 5, authorities announced the suspension of all international flights with the exception of flights to and from China, until Tuesday, April 14, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Arrivals from China will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
As of Thursday, April 9, some 29 of Dhaka's 50 districts (thanas) are experiencing some form of localized lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19. Buildings, streets, and in certain cases whole neighborhoods have been placed under stringent lockdown by police, with residents forbidden to enter or exit. In some cases, authorities have delivered supplies to affected areas to reduce the need to leave.
Earlier measures remain in place. On Tuesday, March 31, the Bangladeshi government announced that it will be extending a nationwide lockdown until Saturday, April 11. The lockdown was originally due to expire on Saturday, April 4. Under the lockdown, passenger travel via sea, rail, and air routes is banned, while public transportation on roads is suspended. All non-essential businesses and educational institutions are closed except for pharmacies, food markets, and other necessities. Authorities have also advised the public to stay at home and to only travel outside if absolutely necessary. Additionally, security forces have been deployed to enforce lockdown measures.
Visas on arrival have been suspended for all nationalities, while passengers with a valid visa will need to present a medical certificate issued within 72 hours of departure to certify that they are not infected with COVID-19. As of March 31, foreign nationals who have visited Europe or Iran since Sunday, March 1, will be prohibited from entering Bangladesh. In addition, individuals arriving from COVID-19 affected countries will be quarantined for 14 days.
As of Thursday, April 9, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 218 cases of COVID-19 nationwide, including 20 fatalities and 33 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.